Restaurants »Pat’s King of Steaks

1237 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

In all my trips to Philadelphia, it seemed lazy that I’d never bothered to stand in line for one of the city’s first and most famous cheese steaks, Pat’s King of Steaks. Situated catty corner to the big rival, Geno’s, I picked Pat’s because they chop their meat, which I assumed would be a consistency I’d prefer over strips. Plus, I wanted to get out for the day while the weather held (because, otherwise, while pregnant I tend to sink into lethargy and naps if I don’t get myself up and at them in the morning) and how fun and low brow decadent is it to hop in the car for a Philly cheese steak in Philly?

The line was as long as I expected, winding through already seated diners and around the small building (it only got longer as the day progressed) but it moved surprisingly quickly. The speed of the food from grill, to bun, to hand has a lot to do with the efficiency. The sandwich is great, with onion and cheez whiz, exactly as it should be. Next time I’d maybe go for double cheese and my only complaint was a couple small bits of fattiness. Still, a classic for sure, and one worth the lines and crowds to sample yourself. Lemonade and fries are also good but not as noteworthy.

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Posted on April 25, 2010

Places to Visit »Mummer’s Museum

1100 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA

The Mummers Parade is an age-old institution that is alive (if not exactly well) in Philadelphia; posters on the walls of the South Philly Mummer’s Museum dedicated to the traditional New Year’s Day event scream “Save the Mummers Museum!” and the unkempt, slightly decaying exhibits give the place a quality not unlike Mrs. Havisham’s home…

Unusually quiet, with only a few volunteers and one other couple present, the museum is as eerie as it is fascinating. As the social clubs that were the backbone of Mummers’ communities fade away, and the museum itself become more run down, spending the afternoon among so many dusty memories is a wonderful way to pass a couple of hours.

The first display of Terminator-meets-He-Man-like costumes are winners of a recent parade and videos show the costumes in action during the annual celebration. The intricacy of the ritual and the costumes themselves make me want to attend the next year’s event and the crumbling but stunning museum (which calls to mind the images of Kubrick) do indeed make me want to help save the Mummers.

So why don’t you all start by visiting? Admission is only $3.50 and more than worth it!

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Posted on April 25, 2010

Places to Visit »Grey Towers Mansion Grounds

grey towers mansionLast fall, friends and I strolled the grounds of the magnificent French inspired Grey Towers in Pennsylvania, not too far from previously recommended Castle Antiques. The home will not be open for tours until the end of May, but the grounds, which is all we were able to see at the time, are alone worth the trip.

Here's the castle's story (from the official site):

“Grey Towers was the home of Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the US Forest Service and Pennsylvania Governor for two terms. Grey Towers was completed in 1886 by Gifford's father, James Pinchot, a wealthy wallpaper merchant. Civic minded and a supporter of the arts, James and his wife, Mary, connected themselves with many influential people, among them Richard Morris Hunt, a leading architect of the era. Hunt designed their summer home to utilize both local materials and reflect the French heritage of the Pinchot family, who first settled in Milford in 1818. For two decades the Pinchots and their children enjoyed numerous summers at Grey Towers, entertaining guests for afternoon teas and dinner parties. Here James, disturbed by destructive logging practices then prevalent in the country, encouraged his eldest son, Gifford Pinchot, to consider a career in forestry.”

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Posted on April 13, 2009